Dear Mr. Snider,
You've worn a lot of hats in your life, and in nearly every position you've held, you've been a success. Your net worth is at least several hundred million dollars and you're beloved in the City of Philadelphia for bringing us hockey.
You've brought us two Stanley Cups. You've brought us All-Star Games and a Winter Classic and a minor-league hockey team and two Calder Cups and two buildings where we've formed countless memories.
Whether you know it or not, you're at least indirectly responsible for at least half of all the personal relationships I've ever had, since it seems I meet more people through hockey than anything else, and without you, hockey wouldn't be a thing in my life.
I'm sure that's true of many Flyers fans, and I'm sure than in the same vein, your decision to bring the Flyers to Philadelphia in the 1960s has formed memories and bonds unlike any other decision you will ever make. Marriages and children and bonds we have with our parents owe their existence to the fact that the Philadelphia Flyers are part of our lives.
You know it better than anybody, but to us, the Flyers are more than just a hockey team. It sounds cliche, but they're truly a way of life, and you know that better than anybody -- you've lived that life closer than any of us. The Flyers are much more than just an entertainment expense to us, just as they're more than simply an item in the portfolio to you.
But over the last three months, that's what the Flyers have been reduced to. We'll all be back when this lockout ends -- let's not kid ourselves there -- but instead of talking about Claude Giroux growing into perhaps one of the greatest players this franchise has ever seen, or instead of talking about the goaltending, or the power play, or how much we love/hate DOOP as a goal song, or how much the Penguins suck, we've spent this time talking about economics and politics.
Interest on our season ticket accounts. Escrow. Hockey-related revenue. Trying to make sense of bullshit posturing by certain owners who clearly aren't in this because they love the game of hockey or their team, like you, but instead because it really is just an item on the ledger for them. We're asking ourselves if we should be ashamed to wear our Flyers shirt or hat in public and if investing this much time in a sports team is worth it.
It's a silly question considering we all know how much the Flyers do mean to us. Whether we have season tickets or watch the games on TV from across the country or listen to them on the radio under the blanket after our parents tell us to go to bed, we'll always be Flyers fans. And that's what so insane about the lockout -- it's forcing us to, somehow, question the commitment we have to this team and this game.
At times, you're probably thinking about your commitment to the NHL. Hell, you and your team helped build this league. You've been around longer than any one other owner currently in the league today, and without the Philadelphia Flyers and your presence, the league would be a very, very different place.
That's the kind of power you have in this league. You're an important voice, respected by the rest of the governors. And let's not start with the players -- nearly everybody who's ever pulled on a Flyers sweater raves about how great an organization this is and how well they treat their people. That's the reputation you and your team have.
You have the power to end this lockout, or at least to begin the end game. If the ball doesn't get rolling the right way in the next two days -- today when owners and players meet face-to-face in New York City, and again tomorrow when you and the rest of the Board of Governors meet -- you need to speak up publicly.
You'll be fined, yes, but at the end of the day, is a $1 million fine from the NHL the end of the world? That's a fraction of your overall worth and a fraction of what the Philadelphia Flyers are worth. And you and the Flyers both stand to lose a whole lot more than a million dollars if the NHL season goes kaput.
That's only measuring this in dollars, of course. We know it means more than that to you. The seismic shift that would take place with just a few simple words -- I disagree with the direction of this lockout and the toll it's taking on the Philadelphia Flyers and our fans -- would not only make you even more of a folk hero in Philly, it might even make the Flyers the most-beloved "second favorite team" in the NHL.
More importantly, it could very well lead to the end of the lockout. You're not the only one who surely feels the lockout has reached too far now, and that it's gone on long enough. You're not the only owner of a team that will have to deal with new on-ice struggles thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, seeing the way player contracting rules are shaping up. You're not the only one who wants this to end sooner than later. Speak up, and they will follow.
The hard line owners have driven this lockout for far too long. It's time for you to take control, Mr. Snider.
Across SB Nation's NHL network today, writers are sending open letters to their respective team owners. See them all here.